The Carnival at Bray

7 CDs. 8:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2015. $77.75. ISBN 9781490693569. digital download.
Gr 9 Up—When 16-year-old Maggie's mother decides to marry someone she just met and move the family from Chicago to Ireland, Maggie is unsure what to expect. Leaving behind her beloved Uncle Kevin and grandmother, Maggie is slow to make friends in the rural town of Bray, though her eight-year-old sister quickly assimilates. Maggie finds refuge with a 99-year-old neighbor and falls for a boy who works in the local pub her mother and stepfather frequent. When Uncle Kevin suddenly dies, Maggie runs away in order to fulfill her uncle's dying bequest to attend a Nirvana concert in Rome. Music is a pervasive theme; it's 1993 and Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, and the grunge movement play key roles in the story. Erin Moon perfectly captures the lilting Irish dialects while clearly differentiating among voices. Portions of Irish folksongs are performed beautifully.
VERDICT The themes of dysfunctional families, moving, first (and awful) sexual experiences, and rebellious music will resonate with teens. Give this to fans of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (Farrar, 2013). ["Promising debut": SLJ 9/14 review of the Elephant Rock book.]

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